Solifugids: A General Overview

Researchers have been conducting studies on the surface-dwelling arthropod fauna of the Namib Naukluft Park, including solifugids, to better understand their behaviour and ecological role in this extraordinary environment. By shedding light on the life of these mesmerising creatures, scientists aim to contribute to conservation efforts and long-term ecological research in the region.

It is very rare to spot one, and many people often mistake them for scorpions. At Agama Lodge, we have sightings of them both during the day and after dark, occasionally they can be seen during our guided scorpion walk.

General Characteristics

Solifugids, also known as camel spiders or wind scorpions, are arachnids belonging to the order Solifugae. They are not true spiders or scorpions but share similarities with both. Solifuges possess large, powerful chelicerae (jaws), which they use for capturing and consuming their prey. They are most active during the night and exhibit a predominantly carnivorous diet, preying on insects, spiders, and other small animals.

Solifugids have elongated, hairy bodies, with two large cephalothorax eyes and a cluster of smaller, less developed ocelli for detecting light. They possess eight legs and an additional pair of longer, sensory pedipalps (modified appendages) that aid in navigation and prey detection.

Habitats and Distribution

The Namib Naukluft Park provides a suitable habitat for various species of solifugids. The park encompasses different ecosystems such as the sand dunes of the Namib Great Sand Sea, gravel plains, and ephemeral riverbeds like the Kuiseb River.

Solifugids thrive in these arid and semi-arid environments, where they can be found under rocks, in burrows, or simply roaming the desert floor in search of prey. Their behavioural adaptations, such as nocturnal activity and burrowing, aid in avoiding the harsh desert conditions and escaping the heat of the sun during the day.

In the Namib Naukluft Park, solifugids coexist with other arthropods and contribute to the park’s complex desert ecosystem.

Solifuges in Namib Naukluft Park

Species Endemic to the Park

These unique creatures can be found throughout the sandy landscapes, where they play an essential role in the park’s ecosystem. Some notable species found within the park include Galeodes granti and Solpugema namibensis.


Solifugids are known for their incredible speed and agility, allowing them to effectively hunt their prey, which includes various insects, other arthropods, and even small reptiles. They are mostly nocturnal and are capable of moving at exceptionally fast speeds, reaching up to 16km/h (10 mph).

Solifugids are fascinating not only for their speed and hunting abilities but also for their unique physical features. They possess large chelicerae (jaws) that are used for capturing and crushing their prey before consuming it.

Conservation Efforts

Threats and Challenges

The solifugids of The Namib Naukluft Park face several threats and challenges that could impact their survival. Among these threats are habitat loss due to human activity and climate change, as well as the introduction of invasive species that compete for resources and prey on the native solifugids.

Increased tourism in the area can lead to disturbance of natural habitats, which may negatively affect the solifugids’ way of life.

Climate change threatens to alter the delicate balance of the Namib Naukluft Park ecosystem, with increasing temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns affecting the availability of food and shelter for the solifugids. It is important for conservationists to monitor these changes and implement strategies to protect the solifugids and their habitat.

Park Management Strategies

The Namib Naukluft Park management has implemented a number of strategies aimed at preserving the solifugids and their habitat. Some of these strategies include:

  • Habitat protection: The park management works to preserve the natural habitats of solifugids by preventing human encroachment and unsustainable development. This includes the creation of buffer zones around sensitive habitats to protect them from disturbances caused by human activities.
  • Monitoring and research: Ongoing monitoring and research of solifugids and their ecology are essential for understanding their needs and identifying effective conservation measures. The Long-term ecological research at Gobabeb is one such initiative, providing valuable insights into the impact of environmental changes on the solifugids.
  • Education and outreach: Raising awareness and educating the public about the importance of solifugids and their role in the ecosystem is a key component of conservation efforts. Through public outreach programmes, park management aims to foster a greater understanding and appreciation for these unique creatures, which can help to protect their habitats and ensure their continued survival.
  • Collaboration with local communities: Engaging local communities in conservation efforts is an important element of protecting the solifugids of The Namib Naukluft Park. By working together, park management and local communities can implement initiatives to protect solifugids and their habitat, as well as promote sustainable ecotourism practices that minimise potential harm to these fascinating arthropods.

Through these strategies, The Namib Naukluft Park management aims to ensure the long-term preservation of solifugids and the myriad other species that call this unique ecosystem home.